Many of the smaller brewers chose this event to unveil their new beers. That's what got me to make the trip.
Here, then, in no particular order (Did I mention that I was tasting beers?) are some memorable new brews:
Baron's Brewery in Hod Hasharon
Lior Degabli of Baron's Brewery undoubtedly was pouring the largest number of new beers. I noted:
|Lior Degabli and friend |
pouring Baron's beer.
Cardamon Coffee Stout
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Peanut Butter Ale
Summer Session IPA
While I wouldn't recommend making Peanut Butter Ale your go-to beer, I actually enjoyed the taste of fresh peanuts in the envelope of a hoppy pale ale. We eat peanuts with beer, don't we? I think this beer would pair well with any sweet, neutral-flavor dessert. And of course, if you're ever having a plain grape jelly sandwich on white bread . . .
The Cardamon Coffee Stout was another excellent blending of flavors. This beer is brewed with ground Turkish coffee and cardamon. It pours a very dark brown color with strong aromas of the spice and the coffee. I'm used to cardamon as part of a spice package in winter holiday or Christmas ales, but by itself it adds a beer-friendly sparkle that had me doing a double-take. In fact, the taste was roasty cardamon, if you can imagine that, but I'm not sure if it comes from the malt or if the spice itself was roasted.
I brought home a bottle of the Chocolate Robust Porter which I enjoyed with a hearty Shabbat lunch. This is a strong and dark American porter. The flavor of the chocolate malt is enhanced by the addition of chocolate shavings and vanilla sticks during the fermentation. Not all foods would go well with such a chocolaty beer, but I actually thought it was surprisingly complementary to our vegetarian shepherd's pie and noodle kugel.
Argamon Brewery in Bat Yam
|Tamir Bunny (right) at Zman Amiti.|
Air Born Saison
Sludge Factory IPA
Uberlin (German-American wheat beer)
I tried the Air Borne Saison, a light Belgian saison-style beer, but dry-hopped with Nelson hops. I found it to be semi-sour, which is just enough for me, and very refreshing. I took home a bottle of the Sludge Factory for later enjoyment.
Hechalutz Brewery from Beersheva
|Best-in-show brewer Gilad Ne-Eman.|
Gilad was proud that "Hebrew beer" was able to make such a strong showing in an international competition. "Maybe now our craft beer industry will feel free to brew what it wants to," he says, "and not be held back by its fears."
Although I don't believe that Israeli brewers have to "prove" themselves to foreign connoisseurs, international recognition does us great honor. So, way to go, Gilad!
|Hechalutz (The Pioneer") IPA|
on tap in London.
At the Zman Amiti Festival, I tried the new Hechalutz Belgian Yam Specialty Ale, made with sweet potatoes. It is also flavored with grains of paradise (African pepper), honey, ginger and coriander. You would think that this combination would impart a taste of a baked sweet potato pie, but it doesn't. The yams add to the body of the beer and a sweet, nutty taste. I thought it was quite successful and would give Gilad another prize.
I brought home two other bottles of Hechalutz beer, the new The Catcher, an American rye ale, and Great White Buffalo, an American brown ale "made with too much espresso." Still haven't opened them.
Chuck's Brewery in Ra'anana
|Chuck's beers and pretzels at Zman Amiti.|
The beer poured out a rich red-amber color and had the aroma of earth and yeast. The dominant flavor, however, was a caramel malt, what you would expect from an Irish Red ale.
The Chuck boys also had a lemon wheat, an IPA, a blond ale and an amber ale.
Taekwonbeer from Beersheva
|Alex Fuks with his Taekwonbeer.|
Alex adds fresh plums to the second fermentation and lets them fizz for three weeks. The result is a strong chocolate porter with the sourness of plums, if not their flavor. I also detected flavors of prunes or raisins. I thought it was a delicious alternative to any regular robust porter.
At the end of the day, I had a wonderful time at Zman Amiti, tasting the very different beers of these small breweries. They are the ones that are experimenting with beer styles and flavor profiles, utilizing different ingredients and combinations, to take beer in new directions. Most attempts end in failure, but the successes are what all of us are waiting for.